The pandemic delivery service will restart in England tomorrow (5 November), health secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed.

In a letter to contractors, NHS England said the service will run for the duration of the second national lockdown, until 3 December.

‘This means that all pharmacies and dispensing doctors in England will again be required to ensure patients on the shielded patient list receive their medicines at home,’ it added.

This comes as new guidance, issued to people who are deemed clinically extremely vulnerable, has warned the group not to visit pharmacies, and instead get their medicines delivered.

Two new groups have also been identified as vulnerable and have been added to the shielded patients list – adults with chronic kidney disease (stage 5) and adults with Down’s Syndrome.

‘NHS trusts and general practices respectively will be adding patients from these groups to the shielded patient list,’ the letter said.

The national pandemic delivery service ended on 31 July, but was extended in some areas of England until 5 October, due to local outbreaks of Covid-19.